Hartford, CT – A pioneering mixed-use community, the first to be located immediately adjacent to a Conn. fastrak rapid transit stop in West Hartford, is poised to kick-start a rediscovery of the New Park Corridor and provide mixed-income housing attractive to everyone from seniors to Millennials.
The 54-unit project, with one- and two-bedroom units, is priced both at market rate and at rates attractive to a workforce earning at or below 60% of the area’s median income. Eleven units are designated as supportive housing for veterans. The first floor is intended for retail development compatible with restaurants and shopping venues nearby. Construction cost was $15.6 million.
Designers were challenged by Trout Brook Realty Advisors, a nonprofit developer for the West Hartford Housing Authority (WHHA), to create a dramatic design to capture the interest of people interested in living in an urban community adjacent to mass transit.
The project team includes architect: Amenta Emma Architects; owner: West Hartford Housing Authority; construction manager: Enterprise Builders; MEP Engineer: RZ Associates; structural engineer: Thornton Tomasetti; civil and landscape engineer: Fuss & O’Neill; environmental graphics: Ritz Henton; design wall murals: Ben Keller; and photo credits: Robert Benson Photography.
The client also desired the highest level of amenities, making it competitive with products in other markets. The exterior is simple, a blend of materials that pays homage to the neighborhood’s commercial and industrial roots. Inside, large windows allow lots of natural light.
Vibrant color schemes serve as wayfinding elements on each floor. Artwork and wayfinding graphics were developed as a collaborative effort between a graphic designer and a local artist to honor Connecticut’s transportation history. The lobby, with large glazing, activates the space from the street, with seating areas, a pool table, and a fireplace. The unfinished industrial ceiling is softened with rich wood tones for an inviting mix of textures.
“This is a very special project. It really becomes the underpinning for the rebirth, the growth, and the substance of the New Park neighborhood,” says George Howell, CEO of Trout Brook Realty Advisors and executive director of WHHA. “Everything about it is dramatic without overdoing it. The project has a keen sense of place. We are part of the revitalization of the neighborhood. It is our mission, the core to what we are.”